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Ali Daei

Ali Daei
Complete Name: Ali Daei
Nationality: Iranian
Place of Birth: Ardabil, Iran
Date of Birth: 21/05/1969
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 82 kg
National Team: Iran
Current Club: Saba Battery (Itan)
Position: Striker


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Club career history

Esteghlal Ardabil (Iran), Taxirani FC (Iran), Tejarat Bank FC (Iran), Persepolis (Iran), Arminia Bielefeld (Germany), Bayern Munich (Germany), Hertha Berlin (Germany), Al-Shabbab (UAE), Persepolis (Iran), Saba Battery (Iran)




Ali Daei (born March 21, 1969) is an Iranian football player who is a striker for Saba Battery Tehran and the Iran national football team. Daei, the captain of the Iranian national team, is most noted for being the all-time leading goal scorer in international matches.

Born in Ardabil, Iran, he played for his home team Esteghlal Ardabil when he was 19, missing out an a chance to play in the J. League due to military service. Although tactically speaking, Daei is not the greatest of all Iranian footballers, his fame is attributed mostly to his goal scoring. Due to Iran's tournament schedule, he has played very few matches for his clubs, yet he has managed to score frequently. He is one of the greatest strikers in the history of football and is ranked first in most goals in international matches. He is considered to be the finest striker in the history of the Asian game. In the 1998 World Cup Qualifying round, he was top on the charts scoring 38 goals in 56 matches. Including his famous 4 goal haul against South Korea and 8 goals against Maldives. His experience with world-class FC's opened the way for other Asian players such as Hidetoshi Nakata and Mehdi Mahdavikia. Daei was named the world's top scorer in official international competitions by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), having scored 20 goals in competitive matches for Iran in 1996.

After playing for minor league teams: Taxirani and Bank Tejarat, Daei joined one of the country's premier squads, Persepolis (Pirouzi). As Arminia Bielefeld joined the Bundesliga they signed a contract with Daei and his teammate Karim Bagheri. Many other Persepolis players made contracts with several different foreign clubs at the same time, yet Daei proved to be a very successful franchise. Daei was hand picked for the Bayern Munich club by legendary footballer Franz Beckenbauer, president of the club, who rated him as a world-class centre-forward (although he usually plays as striker). He made a famous four million deutschemark move from Arminia Bielefeld to the four-time European Cup winners, which was a record for Asian players at the time. Daei also opened the door for Vahid Hashemian who became the second Iranian to join the prestigous German club in 2004.

Daei became the first Asian player to feature in a UEFA Champions League match. Yet with Bayern's 15 international players and the Iranian national team's poor scheduling, Daei had found very little time for playing. In Germany he was known to be a true gentleman, famous for the way he treated the fans. Daei would always sign autographs to Bayern fans and was often the centre of attention, he was featured in OPEL car commercials. Amazingly he usually did manage to score when given a chance to play. Still Ali Daei was unhappy with his position in the club and decided to make a move to Hertha Berlin before the end of his three year contract after Bayern won the 1999 Bundesliga. He played in the Champions League with Hertha Berlin becoming the teams best scorer in the league with 3 goals. His famous match against Chelsea gained him a lot of recognition, yet even in Hertha he was not the talk of the town, since he was only amongst one of the squad's many successful franchises, who were to fulfill Hertha's Bundesliga and Champions League dreams.

At the same time he was very successful in international competition scoring in practically every game and making new records. He played in many World Teams in friendly continental games. Yet Daei was still unable to maintain a stable position in the squads starting line-up. In the year 2001 he was not among the top scorers in the Asian Qualifying round and he did not manage to take the team into the World Cup as captain for the first time. After receiving offers from Rapid Vienna, Glasgow Rangers, the J. League and a few English Premiership teams, he decided that he was no longer fit to play world-class football. He joined the UAE league at 34 years of age, signing a contract with Al-Shabab as a free agent. In 2003 Daei quit the UAE team and joined his old team in Tehran, Pirouzi. Daei moved from Pirouzi to Saba Battery on a free tranfer for a modest conract of around 300,000 American dollars.

Asides from his great sportsmanship on the pitch, Daei ran many charitable organisations and used a great deal of his money in support of the less fortunate. In his native Iran, Daei has been seen as a role model for a sport with a terrible reputation, when many prominent footballers are accused of criminal offences or are involved with prostitutes, Daei has always brought about a good image of himself. Today Daei owns his own football jersey manufacturing company, making jerseys for Iranian Premiership clubs, 2nd Division clubs world-wide and for the national team. He has made very significant charitable donations and has made appearances in charitable football matches world-wide (featuring in the World vs. Bosnia match with Roberto Baggio and other football legends). He also appeared in a UNICEF commercial with superstar David Beckham and Madeline Albright, and has regularly been seen working with the organisation.

Today Ali Daei has joined the exclusive circle of players with a Century of Caps. In a November 28, 2003 Asian Cup qualifier in Tehran against Lebanon, he scored his 85th international goal, elevating him past Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás to top the all-time list of scorers in international matches (among men; he trails women's leader Mia Hamm by over 50 goals). On November 17, 2004, he scored four goals against Laos in a World Cup qualifier, giving him 102 goals and making him the first male player to score 100 goals in international play.

Other Honours (individual) : Most Valuable Player and top scorer of the 1994 Asian World Cup preliminary finals (4 goals, Doha/Qatar); top scorer of the 1996 Asian Cup (8 goals, UAE); named the world's top scorer in official international competitions by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), having scored 20 goals in competitive matches for Iran in 1996. Top goalscorer of the Iranian national league in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995.

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